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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 21, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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secondly, given that you suggested that regulators might be laid on the passing of the rules, can you give us a target on when regulators are looking to release the rule? >> it is a five-agency ruled. a lot of cooperation is needed. it has been a very difficult process in terms of the amount of work that has to be done. i don't have a date for you. if there is a silver lining to the events you referred to, there may be some things we can learn in terms of writing the role and thinking about how it would work. one aspect of our role that would have been important in the in the of volthe loss, rule, a bank would be required to provide a plan in advance
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explanting how the hedge was going to be done, how it was going to work. it would be necessary to have an audit in process to make sure that was being followed and there were adequate risk management and governance rules to oversee the process and it would be necessary that compensation for the executives involved in the management of the position would not be such that it would incentivize them to take proprietary positions. one aspect of the role that might have been relevant, and we're still looking in that situation, would have been the control and government aspects of it. it might have potentially change the outcome. >> how much worse will the situation in europe have to get
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before it starts seriously denting the prospects for recovery in america and changing the direction of fed policy making? >> we hope it does not get worse. it is already one of the factors that has been a drag on the u.s. recovery but not the only factor. it has been having an effect and it has been having an effect on the economies of other countries as well, countries that export to europe. it is a significant issue. we are hopeful that europe will take additional measures and do all that is necessary to stabilize the situation and to provide the basis for an ongoing, stable structure in which banks and sovereigns are both stabilized, in which there is a program for growth, and in
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which fiscal arrangements are clear. there is a lot of work to be done. again, we think the policy makers in europe have strong incentives to get this right and we are hopeful they will get it right and we're in close contact with them as the work on these issues. it is also important for us to be prepared for any problems that might emerge from europe and we have been doing that. for example, we recently did our stress tests of the large bank holding companies to make sure they had enough capital even in the face of a severe financial crisis or a european crisis. we have been monitoring the exposures of banks and other financial institutions to europe. we are monitoring the situation
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there very closely. we're hoping for the best and we hope that european leaders will take the steps they need to stabilize the situation but we are prepared in case things get worse to protect the u.s. economy and the u.s. national system. >> i wanted to get back to lending and credit. the u.k. has started a program or the bank of england will make lending to banks only if they lend to households and companies. is that something the fed is considering? >> we are interested in it and we will follow it. the details are not yet available. i think it should be noted that it is not just the bank of england program but it is a joint program with the british treasury. one question might be how much of a physical component is there? is there a fiscal subsidy being included?
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throughout the crisis, we have looked for new ways to help the economy and this will be the type of thing that will be on the list of programs we look at. >> you have an inflation target of 2% over the medium term. can you explain why? he said the fed is prepared to do more if necessary. can you comment on what he did -- would form additional action might take and what are the relative benefits of more qe? >> in terms of the inflation forecast, i think it should be said as a preliminary point that economic predictions -- predictions have 11 certainty to them. -- have a lot of uncertainty to
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them. we should not take a false sense of provision from those numbers. that being said, there is an issue about whether or not there is sufficient stimulus in the economy. as i mentioned earlier, one problem is that we are now at zero bound and the types of on conventional programs that are available, we know less about them, they have various costs and risks and for that reason, you may get a different amount of financial accommodation in this kind of regime than you would in one or short-term interest rates can flow freely. that is a critical issue. in terms of the cost, i would list briefly large asset purchases, increase the size of our balance sheet and that will ultimately make exit and extended process.
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the large asset purchases which means that the fed owns a larger share of a particular type of asset may have implications for market functioning which might affect the ability of the fed to have a stimulus to the facts and the economy. there are some financial stability issues that we're monitoring and have to be taken into account. any kind of assessment of appropriate policy must look at the outlook for the economy and that the cost and risk associated with new measures that might be taken. that being said, at this point, we still have considerable scope to do more and we are prepared to do more. we will continue to monitor the economy and see how things evolve. we're looking primarily at the labor market in this respect. if we are not seeing it sustained improvement in the labour market, that would require additional action. in terms of balance sheet
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actions, we are unlikely to do more extensions because we have taken that as far as we can. we would have to take other types of steps in order to add to the amount of stimulus in the economy. >> i hear a lot of conversations on liquidity in the u.s. it is a concept in japan. is the u.s. in a liquidity trap and if so how can the economy improved from here? >> the u.s. economy is in a situation where short-term interest rates are close to zero. that means the federal reserve cannot add monetary accommodation by cutting short- term interest rates which is the usual approach. it has been one of the themes of my own work for a long time including some of the work item the bank of japan that central banks are not out of tools once
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the short-term interest rate it zero. there are additional steps that can be taken and we communicated through techniques and guidance about future policy which is something the japanese have done as well and through asset purchases which is something the bank of japan has done that central banks do have some ability to provide financial accommodation to support the recovery did when short-term interest rates are close to zero. these non-standard policies are less well understood and have some costs and risks but i think at the same time that they can be effective in helping the economy. >> are you at all concerned that operation twist could affect bank earnings and their willingness to lend and undercut your ability to increase credit
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to consumers? >> to consumers? i don't think so. i have heard the argument that by lowering interest rates to make it unattractive to lend. i don't think that is quite right. we are lowing the sake interest rate, the treasury rate. that should make it even more attractive for banks rather than to hold securities, to look for borrowers and to earn the spread between the safe race and what they can earn by lending to households and businesses. i think macro policy and monetary policy can support lending. the question arises in some context as to whether there are other barriers to lending as exists in some parts of the mortgage market. lower interest rates on securities and other types of assets would induce banks to look for higher yielding
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returns, higher yielding assets in the form of loans to households and businesses. >> returning to europe briefly -- some analysts said should the situation deteriorated fair, the fed should step in by buying european sovereign debt. are there any countries you would rule out in such a strategy? >> the federal reserve is not going to be buying european sovereign debt accept we have a limited amount of european sovereign debt as part of our foreign exchange reserves. it comes primarily from a small number of countries. that is not something we would be engaged in. >> you have two new fed governors. does that change the tenor of the discussion this week and did
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they push you in any particular policy direction? >> they are two terrific people with critics. . i have none jeremy for a long time. he is an outstanding academic and knows a lot about finance. jay has more experience and experience in government and the above bring a lot to the table. this is their first meeting so they were in listening mode to some extent are they have a lot to offer i look forward to working with them because i think they are exceptional people. i believe it is the first time that we had seven governors at an fmoc meeting since 2005. it is great to have a full complement of people and will help us to our work more effectively. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> on "washington journal" we have niki tsongas of massachusetts, a member of the armed services committee. we will talk about the upcoming supreme court decision on the affordable care act with former gop presidential candidate, rep michelle bachmann of minnesota. "washington journal" live on c- span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> friday, route better ginsburg talked about the court's current term including health care case. >> no contest since the court invited to present arguments in citizens united has attracted more attention. the ticket line outside the
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supreme court, a line that formed three days before all arguments were made. some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests going on outside the court while all argument was under way inside. >> she also spoke about press reports on the decision expected this week or next. >> though our deliberations are private, that has not dissuaded the media from publishing a steady stream of rumors. my favorite among press paces it wisely observed that at the supreme court, those who know who don't talk and those who talk don't know. [laughter] >> what's the rest of her comments from the american
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constitution society on line at the cspan video library. >> house republican leaders said they will hold a vote next week on a contempt of congress citation against attorney general eric holder. this is after the house oversight committee passed the citation among party lines. president obama asserted executive privilege yesterday in order to continue withholding documents related to the fast and furious gun operation which the justice department says contained information about confidential internal deliberations. the justice department operation involved the tactic of gun walking which allowed weapons to be smuggled into mexico. this part of yesterday's house oversight committee meeting is 40 minutes.
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>> this committee launched an investigation into fast and furious. we became involved only after senator grassley was told he would not receive answers from the justice department because, in fact, he did not have subpoena power. in the course of our investigation, the committee has
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uncovered serious wrongdoing by the justice department. that wrongdoing led to 2000 weapons crossing the mexican border that cost lives on both sides of the border including brian terry's. a year-and-a-half later, his family is still searching for answers. the operation contributed to the deaths of countless mexican citizens. it has soured our relationship with our neighbor to the south. it has created an ongoing safety problem here in the united states in which even the attorney general has admitted more lives could be lost. department of justice has fought this investigation every step of the way starting with an unequivocal denial that use the reckless tactics we now know were used in fast and furious. the denial proved to be false
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and ultimately the justice department withdrew it. they withdrew it in december having given it to us in february. today's content is in no small part because the materials between the time a false statement was given to us in writing and later affirmed in sworn testimony by the justice department representative, an officer of the court, a lawyer, and now the dean of law school -- it was ultimately falls in that intervening period remains one of the areas of investigation. it is clear that congress relies on its ability to get truthful testimony when investigating wrongdoing in and around the executive branch. in spite of this lack of transparency, the committee has managed to piece together much of what happened and we believe
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we can help participate in making sure it never happens again. our work is not complete and we made the department of justice to cooperate. thus far, the corporation has not been forthcoming. over and over again, the department has sought to protect his political appointees. it has used this investigation -- its investigation by the inspector general which has been pending a long time as a reason not to cooperate. we are now on the second inspector general. there has been an interim report and although they say it will be forthcoming within one month, we and the american people need answers sooner, not later. the attorney general has, in fact, said he has gone to extraordinary measures to participate and to help. we have received to date approximately 7600 documents. a great many of those documents
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are in fact responsive to other operations conducted before he was attorney general. those documents pale in comparison to the 80,000 documents or more that the inspector general has received. our purpose has never been to hold the attorney general in contempt. purpose has always been to get the information the committee needs to complete its work that it is entitled to but obligated to do. we had offered the department an accommodation to address its concerns about information related to ongoing prosecutions. if the justice department had delivered the documents they freely admit it they could deliver, we would not be here today. as late as last night, in discussions with the attorney general, his offer was only to give us a briefing and such documents as support the briefing and only if we ended
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the investigation. contempt today is not about whether we and the investigation or not. it is about a narrow subset of the documents the committee must ultimately receive. the subpoenas are eight months old. we have not received a credible reason for them not being supplied and, in fact, no constitutional assertion has a set -- occurred. it is the duty of the executive branch and its agencies to represent itself honestly before congress and to make available such transparency as necessary for us to fund and authorized now and in the future of the request of this and future presidents. only today, only a few minutes before the gavelling of this mark of did we receive from the
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deputy attorney general a letter dated today not spoken of last night which says -- i would ask unanimous consent that the entire letter replaced and the record record in the first paragraph, it says ,"i right now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over relevant post-february for 2011 documents. it goes on for several pages. as i speak, the committee is evaluating bids. we have to verify that no communication from the president has arrived before the house. additionally, at least in a preliminary evaluation, we
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discover that the president well after february 4, has said that in fact he has not discussed this and was not made aware of it. additionally, the attorney general has repeatedly given us testimony showing that he did not speak to the president about this. i now read for the record from page 25 of when congress comes calling which is from the constitution project and i apologize if this seems preliminary that this communication arrived only within minutes of the start of this mark up. " executive privilege, the president's communication privileged and the quote "the communications in question must relate to the quintessential and non delegable presidential power that requires direct
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presidential decision making. the privilege is limited to the core constitutional powers of the president such as the power to appoint an remove, the commander-in-chief power, the sole authority to receive ambassadors, and public ministers, and the pardoning power." i claim not to be a constitutional scholar but the house is currently working to find out what assertions may in fact arise and we will take notice of them. having said that, more than eight months after a subpoena and clearly after the question of executive privilege could have and should have been asserted, this one time my assertion -- this untimely assertion by the justice department falls short of any reason to delay today's proceedings.
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we have made many attempts to accommodate the justice department. originally, 22 areas were on our subpoena many of which were never complied with. we narrowed three master areas to hit two in a letter on may 18, an unprecedented letter from the speaker of the house, asking for corp. and narrowing the scope of the subpoena. since that time, we have further narrowed to one area for purposes of content and we have been denied. the attorney general has refused to cooperate offering to provide a subpoena documents only if the committee agreed in advance to close the investigation. no investigator would ever agree to that. as you can understand, the other information related to those in the chain of command responsible for the murder of
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brian terry and the death of individuals north and south of the border cannot be concluded simply based on a briefing about post-february 4. the attorney general says his offer is extraordinary. the only thing extraordinary about his offer is that he is asking the committee to close an investigation before the committee he even gets to see the documents. he is pretending to offer. i cannot accept that deal and no other committee chairmen would. this committee will be considering today a very narrow contempt by members on both sides of the dais have said we owe it to the terry family to get to the trip. it is my intention to continue post-contempt, to do their job while meeting our other obligations to pursue a waste,
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fraud, and abuse in our government. that i recognize the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you very much. i want to first of all go back for one moment. this document you read from june 20 and when you and i just got from the deputy attorney general -- it was talking about executive privilege and i think we need to study this and make sure that we understand exactly what the president is a surging here. i just want to quote from it on the last page, page four. in brief, the compel production to congress of these internal
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executive branch documents generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning the department's response to congressional oversight and related media inquiries would have significant damage and consequences. as i expanded our meeting yesterday, this is still from the letter, it would inhibit the candor of the executive branch deliberations in the future and a significant empiric executive branch possibility to respond independently. such compel disclosure would be inconsistent with the separation of powers established in the constitution and would potentially create an imbalance in the relationship between these two co-equal branches of government. to my statement -- first and foremost, i believe congress does in fact -- and we all agree on this -- has a responsibility
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to conduct a vigorous oversight of the executive branch. that is our job. the constitution requires this from congress and the american people expect it from members who serve on this committee. i take that very seriously. the constitution also requires something else -- it requires us to recognize the legitimate interests of the executive branch and to avoid unnecessary conflict by seeking reasonable accommodations when possible. in my opinion, the committee has failed in this fundamental responsibility. last night, the attorney general came to us in good faith. he offered to provide additional internal to deliver to documents. he pledged to provide a
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briefing on the department's actions. he made clear that he was willing to provide substance of responses to additional questions. he even offered to provide documents that are outside the scope of the committee's subpoena and he also made it clear that he had already provided documents that were not even asked for. all the requested in return was that you, as chairman of this committee, give him your good- faith commitment that we would move toward resolving this content fight. he did not ask for the end of the investigation. i would double check with my staff because when he said that, i was in the meeting and i heard what he said and he was
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very clear. it was a fair and reasonable offer. especially in light of the partisan and highly inflammatory personal attacks you made against him throughout this investigation. for the past year, you have been holding the attorney general to an impossible standard. you accused him of a cover-up of protecting documents that he was prohibited by law from producing. you claim that he obstructed the committee's work by complying with federal statutes passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of united states. earlier this month, he went on
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national television and called the attorney general the nation's highest ranking chief law-enforcement officer o a liar. at the same time refused requests to hold a public hearing would ken melson, the former head of atf, the agency responsible for conducting these operations. this refusal came after mr. melson told committee investigators privately that he never informed senior officials at the justice department about gun waling because he was unaware himself. last night, you flatly rejected the attorney general's offer. you referred -- you refuse to working toward a mutually agreeable resolution. instead, he rushed to a
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prearranged press conference to announce the failure of the meeting. it seems clear that you had no interest in resolving this issue and that the committee planned to go forward with contempt before we walked into the meeting with the attorney general. it pains me to say this but this is what i believe. this is especially disappointing since the department has already turned over more than 1000 pages of documents that answer your questions. you want to know why the department sent a letter to senator grassley initially denying allegations of gun walking. the documents show that when there were drafting this letter, the department's legislative affairs office relied on the categorical and emphatic denials from the leaders of atf. these are the same atf officials you now refuse to call for a public hearing. this morning, we were informed that the demonstration is now asserting executive privilege
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over a narrow subset. it is indeed a matter of, of documents that remain at issue. as i understand it, the assertion does not cover everything in this category such as a whistle blower documents. the administration has indicated it remains, and i emphasize, remains willing to try to come to a mutual resolution despite its formal legal assertion. i treat assertions of executive privilege very seriously and i believe they should be used only sparingly. in this case, it seems clear the administration was forced into a position by the committees on reasonable assistance on pressing forward with contempt despite the attorney general + good faith offer. mr. chairman, it did not have to be this way. it really didn't.
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we could have postponed today's vote and accepted the attorney general's offer and obtained additional documents and information. instead, by not honoring the constitution to seek accommodation when possible, the position and prestige of this, -- committee has been diminished and the results should concern us all. with that, i yield back. >> i trust the gentleman did not mean to demean my intention but for the record, the press conference that occurred after our meeting was equally usable and intended to announce that we had a deal and a state that was appropriate. i had prepared a written statement saying that we would hadstate of today's march up we been offered anything pursuant to our letters provide trust the gentleman would realize that it could have gone another way and we had no idea. >> mr. chairman, i believe you
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when you say that. i trust that what the situation was. i was simply giving my opinion of the way it was set up. >> i thank the gentleman. i will hold a record open until the end of the day for members who like to submit formal written statements. the report will be considered as read on their regular order and members will be recognized to speak to offer amendments on the the five-minute rule. i now call up the content report regarding attorney general eric holder. the report has been distributed to all members. without objection, the report will be considered as read an open for amendment at any time. does anyone wish to speak on the report? with that, i would recognize the gentleman from indiana for five minutes. >> first of all, let me just say after having been chairman of this committee for six years, i want to complement our chairman on being so patient.
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if anybody looks at the record and sees how long darrell issa has dealt with this issue and how he has handled it, i think it would say he has been more than patient. i think that needs to be in the record. the second thing i would like to say is that there is no question in anybody's mind that has been involved in this investigation that the attorney general has been stonewalling this committee. the chairman has contacted him and his associates numerous times and without result. when the chairman met with him in the last 24 hours and discussed this, there was no information forthcoming that would have been able to set aside this contempt hearing today. the second thing i would like to say is that the president's assertion of executive privilege creates even more questions. one of the big issues we have been dealing with those who knew about fast and furious and when
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did they know about it and how high up did it go? the attorney general has asserted and numerous occasions that he did not know about this. now the president of united states has claimed executive privilege. that brings into question whether or not eric holder knew about it and how much did the president know about it. why would the press a claim executive privilege unless there was something very important that he felt should not be made known to this committee and possibly to the public? i will not take all my time but my question is -- who knew about this, how i opted co, did it go to the attorney general or the president of the united states and when did they know it? this committee needs to find that out especially since we have not only weapons going across the border but a border patrol agent murdered with those weapons. i yield back the balance of my time. >> does anyone else seek
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recognition? the gentle lady from the york is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am astounded that today we are sitting here waiting whether to hold the attorney general of the united states, the highest ranking law enforcement officer in our country, in contempt of congress. the house of representatives has never, in our long history, held an attorney general and content. -- in contempt. i am horrified that you're going forward with this content charge when the president of united states and the administration have invoked executive privilege for the documents sought by the chairman. the attorney general is being
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attacked for protecting documents that he is prohibited by law from producing. i speak strongly in opposition to this action and in opposition to this report. i would like to point out that our committee, the committee on oversight and government reform, is supposed to root out problems and find ways to reform how government works. it should not be a political witch hunt against the attorney general of our country and our president in an election year. what we should be doing is looking at ways we can stop problems from happening again. my basic question, mr. chairman, is where is the
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reform? our committee is supposed to be working on government reform. and the legitimate investigation must be rooted in finding solutions to problems once they are identified, not just character assassination and overruling precedents and attacking the chief law- enforcement officer in our land. but again, i ask where are the reforms? during this investigation, we have learned a great deal about what went wrong in the phoenix field division at the atf and the attorney general's office and we heard directly from atf agents who witnessed the misguided tactics of gun walking occur which started in prior administrations. they ask for help in implementing reforms and coming
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forward with solutions to the problems they saw every day along the southwest border. the problem they were worried about was not paperwork and subpoenas and contempt charges. they were worried about guns. where are the reforms and the actions that we could take in response to the problems that they put before us? throughout this investigation, 80 of witnesses consistently told this committee that they need reinforcements --atf witnesses consistently told this committee that they need reinforcements against gun trafficking. one special agent called existing gun laws toothless. mr. chairman, when do we put forward some teeth into law? to help our enforcement officers combat crime?
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efforts to simply discuss reforms have not been welcomed by this committee. when i attempted to question the atf agents about the current laws to combat gun trafficking, you cut me off and specifically instructed the atf agents not to answer my question. so, i tried to act on reforms that many members of this committee including ranking members cummings and they try to help agents fight gun trafficking along the southwest border and we did not get any support from the other side of the aisle. mr. issa has rebuffed a request and a clear need for legislation to fight illegal guns trafficking along the southwest border including a request for a hearing on the topic.
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just a hearing! the chairman has demanded that the department justice produce a wiretap application that was ordered. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. i asked that she has an additional 30 seconds. >> i must say mr. chairman, i am offended personally, by your calling the attorney general a liar. it is extremely disrespectful and attacking to our public servant and you have called me a liar. you apologize later and i accepted but where have we degenerated to in calling names, not having hearings on meaningful reform, not acting on reform, but merely generating to attacking people and moving
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forward with paperwork that is unwarranted, unfair, and by lovettsville loss of united states of america? >> i thank the gentle lady. the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you for uploading the responsibility of this investigative arm of the house of representatives to hold the highest ranking prosecutorial official in the united states and united states government responsible for what turned into the horrible death of one of our agents and a plan that went dramatically sour. i chaired the criminal justice drug policy subcommittee and worked on plan columbia with
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mexican officials and warned them of what was coming. in march 2009, at that hearing, mr. waxman was chairman at. t the time. he reached out his hand by pass in pledging his full support if the new administration allocated large resources to assist the mexican government to assist the mexican government. incurs the administration to put in place a plan to stop the slaughter house south of the border and help mexico regain control of its country. i also criticized the previous democratic-controlled congress for not conducting a single hearing. i did dozens of them.
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the gentle lady is wrong and this is the first attorney general to face the situation. henry waxman threatened contempt proceedings against some of the bush officials including the attorney general. he charged him with failing to produce documents in connection with the committee's investigation and the release of classified documents this is not about release of classified documents. this is very serious business. this is the highest judicial prosecutorial position in the united states involved in creating a situation in which an agent of the united states was murdered with weapons supplied by the department of justice in a scheme that went unbelievably sour, as i said.
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for the first 11 months, the administration denied participation in this to this committee, the investigative arm of the house of representatives. for eight months, the chairman -- we have had a subpoena out there and they have denied providing us the information. at the last hour last night, they offered a deal to provide us some information and tried to close down the case. this is absolutely absurd. then this morning, the white house in an attempt to thwart of the committee puzzle all investigation tries to throw out executive privilege, a complete fiasco. mr. burton and i have been in on this committee long time. there are reasons to exert executive privilege and tried to
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stop the investigation of this committee and to the department of justice, bringing about one of the worst is indeed an injustice to the congress, to the american people, and this important investigative arm of the house of representatives. this is a very sad day for the united states of america when the president would engage himself at the last minute and try to exert executive privilege when the attorney general -- our job is to find out what went wrong. maybe he is innocent. maybe people are innocent in this but there is no reason in the world were on verbal law or under the proceedings of congress and our constitution and the way this government is set up that this committee is
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not entitled to this information in this investigation to maintain the integrity of this important office. i don't know, maybe i am idealistic. i did not think this could go on in a department of justice in the united states of america in this day and age. it is a very sad day. i yield back. >> and one else seek recognition? >> i have a question about the process. that was undertaken within the last 24 hours. in light of a statement you made, i understand we're down to deliver to documents which may be the basis for the executive privilege. the committee is no longer demanding documents that are under seal or involved in
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ongoing investigations. we are down to the internal delivered to of -- delivered to correspondence within the department. clearly, a -- >> would you please stay question? could scheuner your question? >> can i go on for five minutes? >> the gentle lady is recognized for five minutes. >> during this process, there has been an attempted resolution. there is a concern that we learned about what caused the killing of the agent was a bipartisan concern. in your opening remarks, you
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left the impression that the attorney general came with certain offerings of documents and demanded not to be held in contempt. the ranking member says in his statement that the attorney general asked -- i am quoting from what the ranking member said -- that we move toward resolving this contempt fight. i read that as a call for continued discussions and negotiations behind the matter of contempt. considering that no cabinet official has ever been held by the courts to be in contempt of
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congress, if this matter gets to the floor of the house, it would then be referred to a democratic u.s. attorney to take the opposite case when this committee referred similar matters to ultimately a republican u.s. attorney, no action was taken. if we are interested in resolution, understanding that is likely the final results, it seems to me and i would ask you to reconsider what appears to be an offer by the attorney general, not a demand. i believe some clarification is necessary here. it is an offer that if he
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presented these documents which he believes he did not have to present, that you in turn agree to engage in continuing discussions and negotiations. if that is the case, it seems that that would be the reasonable thing to do at this point especially in light of the executive privilege. >> with the gentle lady yield? >> yes, sir. >> as i said, we don't have an assertion of executive privilege of the house. executive privilege has to have specificity as to what is being asserted over what documents and normally a privileged law goes with that. the house is not receive that from the office of the press and so although i read a portion of the letter and the entire letter is in the record, i did so only so that we would take notes that it may, and we certainly will recess at some point to assess
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the value of the statement. we are holding time right now. we stopped the clock because i want to make sure you have your full time. if you allow me to continue -- when it comes to the question of postponing today, had the attorney general yesterday turned over the documents he said he would turn over in return for essentially an ending of this investigation, we would not be here today. we would be about ridding the documents. until we evaluate documents to tell us that we can bring a close to either content or the entire investigation, we cannot assume that. there was no blog or documentation showing what they intended to present a went into that meeting yesterday with full intent that we would likely postpone based on something being produced and nothing was produced. i am still waiting. as i said in a news conference
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yesterday, i would wait all night and we did have people here all night in hopes that those documents would arrive and we would then postponed as we evaluate the documents. the gentle lady may resume. >> assuming the executive privilege had been in vogue and that -- invoked and had only be offered to get the documents -- if the chairman would consider after receiving the documents continued discussions and negotiations, wouldn't that have been the way to resolve this matter? >> if we were being offered in return for a postponement the documents and we could judge them and then re-enter negotiations as appropriate, we would not be here today. >> i believe that some clarification on what the offer
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as expected and what in fact occurred is in order rather than proceeding with a contempt of votes. >> with the gentle lady yield? >> yes, sir. >> with the chairman -- would the chairman give me a little more time? the attorney general, i have said this before, the attorney general did not ask for the end of the investigation. he spent quite a bit of time saying that he had limited personnel and his personnel were being tied up in going through these millions of e-mails and documents and he basically said that at some point, he wanted to see that we could move toward bringing the content situation -- the content situation to a conclusion or moving toward it -- the contempt situation to a
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conclusion or moving toward it. he understood the investigation would go on. we have a lot to investigate. he talk aboutthe contempt and that was my understanding. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> that committee later approved a contempt citation and a party- line vote setting up a vote in the full house next week. you can see the rest of this house oversight committee in our video libraries @/ video library. up next on c-span, its two "washington journal days." that is followed by live coverage of the house as members continue work on the oil and natural gas bill. in about 45 minutes, we will talk with democratic rep and snooki saunders, a member of the house armed services committee